Wednesday, February 28, 2007
WFMU Aircheck Tapes
WFMU began archiving shows online in 2001, & that was the end of the aircheck era for nearly everyone. Those DJs who keep personal copies of their shows now can download an mp3. But what about all those pre-internet analog years? I'm hardly the most disorganized WFMU DJ, & having been to some of their homes, I know I'm not even much of a pack rat anymore. Putting the matter to the staff, these responses came back:
"ohhhhh yes. bags of em. sitting in my car-- the only place with a cassette player. lost the playlists long ago."
"Yeah, I got my demos and 1996-2000 tapes under the bed. "
"Oh, yeah, 60 minute cassettes all over the place, in boxes, in piles, on the floor, just about every show i did from '94 to '05..."
"I've got hundreds. many are undated or labeled. I think I may have my very first show somewhere."
'From 1992 to 2001, in a couple of giant Hefty bags in my basement. Some of the cassettes are actually still in their cases."
"Only since 1985."
"Thousands. I recently threw away several hundred of them in a fit of materialist disgust. I also threw away a few hundred records and CDs. No regrets."
"I have crates of cassettes and, more recently, mini-discs that I put into storage. Like Rix, I never listen to 'em but can't seem to let 'em go. I envision myself on my death bed - think a rheumy-eyed Claire in the final episode of Six Feet Under - bequeathing the entire lot to some starry-eyed young soul who has a crazy dream of reviving the outdated occupation of deejaying. Thus making me even more rheumy-eyed."
Unlikely, but a swell fantasy.
Then WFMU Manager Ken made this reassuring suggestion: "If anyone ever decides to throw away old WFMU aircheck tapes, donate them to the station instead."
Nice to know, but it'll require a warehouse if everyone decides to do it.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
"His affect appeared to be somewhat flat. At times he seemed to get a bit impatient with the testing process, but he was always extremely cooperative."The tests included the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales; The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory; The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory; & the two most difficult: The Thematic Apperception Test; & The Rorschach. I put up a lot of resistance to people getting inside my head because I'm afraid of what's in there, & when they're using standardized tests to do it, evasiveness is very difficult. They don't need to chase me around; the tests will force me to give it up. As it turned out, he appreciated my Rorschach responses. I had to explain them in some instances.
"On the Rorschach, Robert provided a large number of unusual, idiosycratic responses. Robert's responses were often unique, showing that he perceived things that were not typically seen by other respondents. However, Robert's responses could often be seen by the examiner after Robert explained them, demonstration that although unusual, they were not divorced from reality."He did note that the "Rorschach & TAT responses indicate that he may become overwhelmed by emotionally laden situations." The TAT pictures were very peculiar, & one of my negative reactions not noted by the intern was that, unlike the abstract & oddly interesting Rorschach inkblots, they looked dated, very 1930s & very Freudian, & that was getting in my way as if he were showing me Depression era paintings & asking me to use them to comment on contemporary art. Or maybe I just didn't want to go where I thought they might lead me, into some repressed psycho-sexual swamp with mom, dad & the whole family. At the time, my anxieties were over more mundane matters.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Ocean Grove NJ
Friday, February 23, 2007
Did move me to toss out some old paperwork, souvenirs of a legal problem now settled & which embarassed me & resulted in my moving to a place that feels like an exile. Of course, everywhere I've ever lived my entire adult life from the time the old family house was sold & all its accumulated treasures discarded has felt a bit like exile, but oddly not because I've ever wanted to return there. That I live only about 2 miles from that street just reminds me that I ought to be farther away from it by now. An old friend returns from California every year or so to visit his mother in the house where he grew up, & there must be something comforting in the continuity even though he got away from there as soon as he was old enough.
I think I deserve a one bedroom apt with a balcony in a high rise building in downtown Rahway next to the river estuary, a very short stroll from the library & across the street from a church I'd be likely to attend on occasion. It's not luxury digs; the place is actually a kind of microcosm of Rahway. For 12 years in Linden & another 10 in Rahway I lived next to flowing bodies of water. The creek in Linden was hardly more than a ditch I would rarely have thought about except that it attracted a lot of birds. But the river in Rahway has tides in it in, & although it's far from Somers Point & North Wildwood & even Keyport or one of the other Jersey towns I've fancied over the years, I was always aware of the tide. Every time I left or came home to the apt there I habitually looked into river to see where the tide was. I knew only a handful of other people who did that, a weird little fraternity who might greet each other by saying, "River is oily today" or "A lot of eels came upstream." Not much to get excited about, but in a sense I knew there was a connection to my step-brother checking out the Manasquan behind his house in Herbertsville, except he had the better view & fleet of genuine commercial fishing boats ten minutes down the road. My sister lives near the Black River, beautiful, filled with boulders, & claustrophobic for long stretches, & there's a creek down the hill you can hear literally babbling at 2 am. But that's not my kind of water, I mean it's the kind where I feel like an outsider. The crawling things that live around it in the crevices & under the rocks freak me out. I can't sit there for more than five minutes without thinking something got under my clothes. I never felt that way as a kid - I actively searched for ugly bugs. So it's something else I draw from water now, & I want it to come from the ocean.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I asked for the poems & they never came
I'm not a cold-hearted, indifferent bastard, although it may seem so at times. The largest group of unpublished poems I have on a "theme" is about people in my family. One poem I did publish many years ago finally cracked through to my dad. I don't recall which one it was, I'd given him copies of a couple of the more respectable literary magazines I was in & he'd actually read the poems & understood I hadn't been ignoring everybody but rather observing them. I was a youngest sbling trying to make sense of personalities so maybe I could figure out their backstories. I know now that as a child I was dropped into the fourth act of a drama, & nobody evertried explaining what had happened during the first three acts. Except Jim. He was the only one who shed light on certain traumatic events - a serious accident - that occurred before I was born, involving all three of my siblings, my parents, my paternal grandmother, & god knows who else. It was Jim's sorting out of these events as a young adult that turned his life around & allowed him to become a person I never would have predicted. Yet, everything's he's accomplished makes complete sense to me in light of his intelligence, his stubborness following his own paths & interests, his perfect Sunday School attendance, his corny sense of humor, his harmless eccentricities, & the enjoyment he gets being in the spotlight. Jim had a tough childhood, & I wasn't even around, or wasn't old enough to be aware, when he went through the worst of it.
My siblings mostly considered me a nosy little brat, getting into their stuff, pulling rather mean-spirited practical jokes (some of which were devilishly creative or had a zenlike simplicity). Mainly I was motivated by curiousity. Any one of my three older siblings who bothered to look though my WFMU playlists would find embedded there their records. The very fact that I slipped right into the free form way of radio was made possible by the diversity of music they were trying to keep out of my grubby hands, & even by the tape recorder Jim was given as a graduation present but which I proceeded to use without his permission & slowly beat into a hunk of junk.
The 4 Rixon siblings were never to be an extended family. I can see now there was no hope of that ever happening. But I also know that I'm not alone in throwing it away. We discarded all of the relatives on both sides of the family, everyone in our generation & nearly everyone preceding it. The Amidons, the Rixon, the Bradys, they're all gone. I never replaced them with spouse's family & kids of my own. I dream about my godmother, the last connection to my grandmother Nana & to the people that came from Philadephia. Nana witnessed nearly everything, suspected what she didn't know, & had she lived I want to believe she would have told me everything. They're in my poems & stories mostly as mysteries & fictions. & my father, who I finally came to admire before he died & love after he was gone, strange process that my therapist thought one of the few sane adjustments I''d made in my life, but it was poet joel oppenheimer's wise gift to me in the years before dad died*. My talkative oldest brother, the one before Jim, withdrew into an emotional isolation that still baffles me & yet the indications were all there when he was 14 & retreating into an attic sanctuary plastered with funny "Keep Out" signs, the humor in them could not disguise the intent - he rarely stopped talking even as it became obvious one was interacting with an elaborate masquerade.
Lifelong alcoholism crushing the spirit of out of my once vibrantly social mom. At last in an angry, unguarded moment she answered a question I'd been asking all my life & I discovered her inconsolable sorrow & a secret that so shook me to my core that I wondered if I could ever understand what I really meant to her, & the sense of apartness I'd always felt from my siblings was not illusory at all but made implicit in my name. I came into being not as joke or happy accident but to heal some terrible wounds, it made me a fragile object, & learning it was so difficult for me to handle that I walked away & committed what I believe is my only really unforgivable sin: abandoning someone on their deathbed. I felt apart from my brothers & sister, but what made them pull apart from each other? How do I write about all this? To speak of these matters as fact & conjecture is to betray the silences I always hated. Do I owe anyone my silences now? When I thought not, I asked for more poems & they never came. I've been asking for one poem in particular for over a decade.
* joel, who was an influential, fatherly presence for me in the 70s, did this through a very gentle & uncomplicated process of inquiring about my father, & speaking well of him, although they never met & seemed as different as two men could be.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
In response to an audience member’s question about the war — one of eight she fielded — Clinton said America faces a dire threat from terrorism.That's a Cheneyism, the vague, off-handed smearish comment that holds up a frame with no photo in it. Hmm, who could she mean? Who's the mystery idiot? I'm doing my best to ignore the presidential races, becauseI don't have to make up my mind for another year & then only if I choose to declare a party affiliation & vote in Jersey's primary. We could be at war with Iran long before then, & I'm more interested in what Senator Clinton is doing to prevent that.
“To underscore a point, some people may be running who tell you we don’t face a real threat from terrorism,” she said. “I’m not one of them. We have serious enemies who want to do us serious harm.”
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
"Dysthymia, sometimes referred to as chronic depression, is a less severe form of depression but the depression symptoms linger for a long period of time, perhaps years. Those who suffer from dysthymia are usually able to function adequately, but seem consistently unhappy.I have two friends who suffer from depression. One is bipolar, with an unrelated, debilitating physical condition, post-polio syndrome. The other friend is more like myself; he'll enter long "down" stretches that sometimes turn into major depressions. I'm in touch with my PPS friend online almost daily. She receives a lot of basic needs practical help where she lives, has some family around (tho not day-to-day) but she's also a writer & crafts artist. The only "interventions" I ever try to do with her happen if I suspect she's headed into a manic phrase; the symptoms are when she's finding too many online "bargains" for her jewelry-making supplies. I have no doubt they are good deals, but she has to budget for people food & cat food, too. The other friend I've known much longer, speak with less often, but he got a fabulous new digital camera last year, & I check to make sure he's using it & posting new photos. Scenery becomes unavoidably dreary this time of year, the starkness of winter that most visual artists enjoy in December loses its appeal as January & February grind on, & by now, judging from his recent shots, he's getting antsy for some spring colors on the local vegetation & women.
It is common for a person with dysthymia to also experience major depression at the same time - swinging into a major depressive episode and then back to a more mild state of dysthymia. This is called double depression."
I've been struggling through a couple of horrid weeks. Turned down several WFMU late night fill ins because they discombulate me mentally & physically, & the last time I did one without feeling good about it, it took four days to recover & I caught a cold, too. The most recent would've had me traveling in last week's storm. Stormy night radio can be fun, with the weather service machine in the studio clacking out yards of alerts, very newsroom-like. But from the moment one leaves home one is already anxious about the return trip. I would've contracted pneumonia on top of the pestiferous bug that's already going around & somehow gotten in here. I was going to bed so early I missed both Boston Legal & Shark during a sweeps week. I was so down that receiving a much-desired CD of Charles Ives Americana music failed to stir me. I dozed off, snoozed through a drunken barn dance & an orchestral imitation of fireworks, & didn't wake up until the chorus was triumphantly singing a hymn of thanksgiving at the end.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
"What matter how the night behaved?At some point today I'd like to stop by the supermarket, I'm out of a few things. But I'm not looking forward to it. There's a blizzard coming to Union County. It arrives about midafternoon & won't clear out until Thursday night & roads will be impassible until Monday morning because as we all know the guvmint pays triple or quadruple overtime to snow plow drivers on Sundays. Jersey's gonna get it worse than Tug Hill Plateau in upstate New York had it last week, where it snowed 20 feet in 24 hours for a week total 53.7 feet of snow. That's from the "lake effect." In Jersey we suffer the much worse "trapped in two big media markets effect." It intensifies whatever's blowing hard across the Hudson or Delaware Rivers.The news here doesn't lie. On TV, special "Blizzard of the Holocene Epoch" graphics are in place, animated maps in motion. All the weather reporters looked in their mirrors & practiced their expressions of acute anxiety combined with smug, I told you so last week & it hasn't even happened yet self-importance. This is their moment at the top of the broadcast. Radio announcers play with tones of controled hysteria.
What matter how the north-wind raved?
Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow."John Greenleaf Whittier, Snowbound
So at the supermarket I'd like to pick up some instant oatmeal, yogurt, & a few cans of chili, all on sale this week, before I head to the library. Shoppers normally at the store only during the hell hours of weekend mornings, when every week is like an impending natural meterological disaster, will be wheeling baskets heaped up with "essentials," bleating at their kids & into their cellphones, bumping into confused, panicky citizens accustomed to eating suppers at Burger King & purchasing cat food at 7-11. People with lactose intolerance stock up on gallons of whole milk. Those with wheat allergies grab every loaf in sight, leaving only the potato bread. Guys who had their arteries reamed out in January pile up the cartons of eggs. Everyone adds a few rolls of toilet paper to the year's supply they picked up at Sam's Club before Christmas. Shelves are picked clean. Even the house brand packaged sliced salami & imitation processed cheese slices are gone. It's the moment when Latinos discover knishes & Orthodox Jews find the kosher refried beans next to the adobe powder. All of this pandemonium funnels toward the checkouts in a rush to beat the terrible storm. Haven't you heard? There's a blizzard coming.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sisters of Selma
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Deja Vu all over again
U.S. officer: Iran sends Iraq bomb partsThis is it. The Bush/Cheney Death Junta is telling us there's gonna be another war. Of course, we're informed that the "highest levels" of Iranian government are responsible. Iraq is our sandbox, we went 1/3 of the way around the world to take it over. As of this morning, at least 3,121 American soldiers have died in Iraq, & it was George Bush - highest level of our government, not the Iranians, who got them killed. Keep a close eye on this story. It's just the first test of mainstream media's current level of credulousness peeping out from behind images of Anna Nicole Smith.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - High-tech roadside bombs that have proved particularly deadly to American soldiers are manufactured in Iran and delivered to
Iraq on orders from the "highest levels" of the Iranian government, a senior intelligence officer said Sunday.
The officer, briefing reporters on condition he not be further identified, said that between June 2004 and last week, more than 170 Americans had been killed by the bombs, which the military calls "explosively formed projectiles."
Iran has a legitimate interest in what happens in Iraq, for the same reasons the United States would be more than alarmed by a civil war or anti-American government in Mexico. It is to their advantage if Iraq is controled by Shiites, poses no military threat, & that the United States leave. Eventually, they will have their way. But Al Qaeda knows Iraq is a disaster for us. If we leave, they will be hunted down & mercilessly destroyed by an unrestrained Shiite-controlled army. It is to their advantage that we stay in Iraq, which is a disaster for us, so they can more conveniently bleed us of our soldiers, treasure, & international respect.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Deep in the dusty, unlit corridors of Kenya's national museum, locked away in a plain-looking cabinet, is one of mankind's oldest relics: Turkana Boy, as he is known, the most complete skeleton of a prehistoric human ever found.No matter how confused I become at the intersection of physical & metaphysical cosmology, it's not difficult for me accept that the Abrahamic Deity doesn't have to stretch to accomodate an infinite expanse of time & universe, or many universes. So what's the big deal about 14 billion years, give or take? Or that at the same time, according to scripture, this Singular Being is also infinitely intimate? I'm plenty impressed that the skies were once filled with flying reptiles (take a close look at any bird), with tiny warm blooded rodent creatures scurrying about trying not to be squashed or gobbled up by giant lizards, Especially that 1.5 million years ago some creatures resembling us & carrying our genes were walking out of Africa in search of new Gardens of Eden. Like Turkana Boy, who stood upright, lived & died long ago in what is now Kenya. An omniscient Deity who knows us as individuals in our time would also know this particular kid in his, why should any Christian have a problem with that? But many do have a big problem:
But his first public display later this year is at the heart of a growing storm - one pitting scientists against Kenya's powerful and popular evangelical Christian movement. The debate over evolution vs. creationism - once largely confined to the United States - has arrived in a country known as the cradle of mankind.
"I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it," says Bishop Boniface Adoyo, head of Kenya's 35 evangelical denominations, which he claims have 10 million followers. "These sorts of silly views are killing our faith."Many have a prose religion that regards their scripture as the most impartial & accurate available combination of news, science, history, & anthropology, a perception of the universe more narrow than the Gate of the Camel's Eye & astonishingly mundane to boot. This seems silly to me, because poetry - a poetry at the border where metaphor fades into awed silence - is the key to comprehending the deeper meanings of the Bible; a sensibility that wasn't confirmed for me by the grounded, practical teachings of the Methodist Church but rather by what I discovered next door, in the mainstream of Catholicism. The older I get the more I'm inclined to regard it as as an excellent place to stand, particularly since it's also evident in both Judaism & Islam. It feels ancient yet timeless.
But a universe only 12,000 years old at most? (Where in the Bible does it say 1 day = 1000 years, as Bishop Adayo believes?) Lift up the Rockies in a minute or two. Carve the Grand Canyon like a furrow in a corn field. Design continents as jigsaw puzzle pieces. Create a pair of humans but let us guess where Cain found a wife to beget Enoch. Scatter some "fossil" evidence here & there as false clues to trick, test & confound those dummy humans. Why should it be that easy? Who are we talking about here, Paul Bunyan? Or one of South Park's Super Best Friends? Turkana Boy actually existed. In cosmic time, he happened just a snap of the finger ago. Sadly, it doesn't please this particular African that his home was the home of humanity. Whether or not God intended it so.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Elizabeth Gets Transit Village NodI choose not to pay a lot of attention to what goes on in Elizabeth, but I use the train station quite a bit, so this is good news. The station & surrounding area is not an attractive place, particularly after dark, definitely not late at night when I often return home. The station has an under-utilized open plaza. The lovely old Jersey Central building was renovated & is occupied by a nice restaurant that never seems to be busy, opens & closes early. The elevators are urinals. The streets around the station are crappy. There's a greasy hot dog stand & small liquor store as you exit, both specializing in individual portions. Standing on the northbound platform you look down on another liquor store & a chicken takeout. Panhandlers are everywhere, including the ones that want to "help" you use the ticket vending machines. When the inside ticket window is closed, these pests create lines at the two machines, often forcing travelers on to trains without tickets where they have to hope for a sympathetic conductor who won't insist on the surcharge. There's no taxi stand, you have to call ahead or gamble that an available cab is parked out front. People get off the trains & scatter, many for a multilevel parking garage across the street. Later at night, a number of us always walk quickly away from the station, past the restaurant & into the Morris Ave. business district, where our pace slows a bit. That street has some good cafes open late & is anchored at the far end by a 24 hour Dunkin' Donuts. I live two long blocks beyond that. Unlike other stations on the Northeast Corridor line, no commuter would want to live near the Elizabeth station for convenience, much less linger in the neighborhood. Athough I have my doubts the area can sustain a "Transit Village," it's not like Plainfield on the Raritan Valley Line, a station hopelessly planted in the middle of gang territory where even during the day you feel like you're standing in the O.K. Corral.
ELIZABETH, NJ-This city of 125,000 people is set for a new round of redevelopment in the wake of its designation by the state, this morning, as a transit village. The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s transit village program focuses of fostering commercial and residential development around the state’s transportation hubs.
With nearly 10,000 people moving through this city’s midtown train station on a daily basis, it’s one of the state’s busiest. The transit village designation brings with it eligibility for a variety of state grants, beginning with an initial grant of $100,000 for planning purposes. Other benefits include planning assistance and a streamlined approval process. This city is the 18th to win transit village designation from the state.
"Politicians fuck with people. That's what they do. That's their job. Every day they get up and wonder who they're gonna fuck with that day. Then they go and do it. They're not of much use - they don't make anything, create anything, think any great throughts. They just fuck with the rest of us. I got tired of talking to them. "Young Woman Meets Tragic End: Story #3115
Kidd, the artist/hacker/thief in John Sandford's novel The Hanged Man's Song
Thursday, February 08, 2007
The Galloping Hills
Remembering how we'd coerce one or the other of my parents into dropping us off at Galloping Hill Golf Course after supper & spending a few hours sledding in the dark - only one slope of several was lighted, it was always frigid & usually windy out there, with many lunatics sliding every which way on sleds, skis, toboggans, saucers, food trays, inner tubes, large pieces of cardboard, even early xtreme sport types wearing ice skates who'd wandered over from the pond. Of course there was a "Suicide Hill," great bumpy ride culminating in a grove of trees & a drainage ditch if you had deficiencies in steering & braking power. If we didn't have a pre-arranged pickup (nobody wore watches), we'd have to use the pay phone by the clubhouse, & by that time we were already approaching hypothermia. Amazing now that none of us suffered frostbite or broken bones. Dad was fairly tolerant of physical risks like steep hill sledding, tree climbing, & old wooden extension ladders; mom probably just tried not to think about it. We all knew kids whose parents wouldn't let them do anything, which is why some of those kids gravitated toward our house when the snow lay packed hard & slick on the slopes of the Galloping Hills.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
A foggy morning six months earlier:
Cold, gray weekend:
People popped up from the bottom of the screen or emerged from the mysterious vanishing point, cop cars idled for hours alone & in pairs, blizzards & thunderstorms (never caught a lightning flash) & on summer evenings foreground crowds were packed shoulder-to-shoulder, you could almost smell the cheese fries & sun block.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Dreaming of Allen Ginsburg on William Burroughs' Birthday
East Village, Hoboken, Soho.
He was on the other side of the street.
I thought, I must speak to him.
I knew he was dead.
"Allen, Allen Ginsburg," I called out,
as I walked toward him.
"How is heaven, or wherever you are?"
He was holding something, a gold medallion
or a religious medal, he looked young.
He didn't notice me.
He wandered down the street,
across an intersection.
I called louder, trying to get his attention.
"Allen Ginsberg, Oh Soul, Allen, wait."
He kept walking, in his own thoughts,
like he had someplace he needed to go.
He turned the corner out of sight.
"Allen, Allen, Allen." I shouted,
then stopped, feeling embarrassed,
there were other people on the street,
what would they think? This man
yelling at a ghost, or at empty space -
someone only I could see
named Allen. Maybe they couldn't see me.
I realized I didn't know where I was
& what I was doing there.
- Read Jeffrey Deever police procedural featuring loathesome serial killer.
- Fell asleep.
- Woke up. Had an Instant Breakfast with whole milk.
- Checked e mail.
- Looked at my space on myspace. One new friend.
- Read more Deever.
- Turned on TV, watched Lynyrd Skynyrd with two original members perform "Gimme Three Steps" on Craig Ferguson's post game show. Craig exclaimed, "that's real rock & roll."
- Looked at Yahoo sports page to find out who won game.
- The guy hired to sing The National Anthem at the Super Bowl was in Miami two days before the event & submitted to a 30 minute media session over a song expected to clock in at about 90 seconds. I wondered how many millions had been bet on the over/under.
- Current temperature: 12 degrees.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Debuting The Speech
A sampling, from The Hotline.
- We need to work together.
- We're working to push this agenda forward.
- We need to start standing up for the American worker again.
- Restore America’s greatness
- I’m tired of hearing the Democrats don’t stand for anything
- We know what we have to do, all we need is the courage to get it done.
- It is time for us to stand up for the real promise for America.
- Let's remember who we are as Americans.
- It is time for us to turn the page.
- Together, we can hope.
Friday, February 02, 2007
high winds thickly
frosting the windows,
ice under my fingernails,
scraping for a peek
with tires in them
churning cold steam,
scratch of silver shovels -
they do not glint.
i emerged from my hole,
finally, at seven a.m.,
at no time did I see
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Banned in Boston
The Broken Virgin
Shortly before the accident, I hung a laminated print of St. Cecilia & an Angel by Orazio Gentileschi in the hallway by the front door. It was always on display in my old apt, & before that in the studio room where I taught piano. Most people probably thought it was kitschy, so did I at first, but my artist friend Jim had an eye for Italian Baroque & liked it. I'm not so superstitious as to think the plastic Virgin was jealous; there's only one Queen of Heaven & Cecilia is usually depicted as a working musician with heavenly inspiration.
I have other treasured dust collectors placed here & there; a Gumby, a camel bell, various frogs, three handpainted ceramic lighthouses, a red toy piano, a Cosmic Clash Mini Arcade. Haven't even unpacked the most musical windchimes. The walls are bare. Been here three years & never really settled in. It's a spartan existence with an obvious air of self-deprivation, rooms evidently inhabited by someone who doesn't like himself very much. In this world, a plastic Virgin Mary is a necessity.